Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in San Francisco, California yesterday to great fanfare ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
He was immediately greeted by California Governor Gavin Newsom when he stepped off the plane around 3:30 PM Tuesday.
NOW – China's Xi Jinping arrives in San Francisco. pic.twitter.com/EUrmqDmxjd
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 14, 2023
The City of San Francisco made headlines last week for deigning to clear away its homeless encampments to avoid the judgment of international leaders. Gov. Newsom defended these actions and likened it to “cleaning up the house” before guests come over.
Xi’s motorcade cruised through the highways and streets of San Francisco, greeted by Chinese flags and banners waved by pro-China demonstrators on the sidewalks. He was making his way to the St. Regis, the luxury hotel downtown where he is staying.
The identity of the celebrants is unclear, and it is possible they flew in from China on order from the Chinese state officials. Meanwhile, an anti-communist protest took place earlier that day but was cordoned off and dispersed by the police.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds of people waving Chinese flags stood at Third Street by the Moscone Center, as the motorcade rolled past.
Get live updates from APEC: https://t.co/IJGRbVIT1S
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 15, 2023
Chinese President Xi Jinping, escorted by a motorcade, arrived today at the St. Regis hotel where he will be staying during the week of APEC. Supporters and opponents of Xi can be seen in the background. pic.twitter.com/GZmQhT1cPu
— The San Francisco Standard (@sfstandard) November 14, 2023
— Gia Vang (@Gia_Vang) November 14, 2023
Dictator Xi Jinping’s motorcade passes through the city of San Francisco. This motorcade is bigger than the President of the United States. Are we begging CCP for something? pic.twitter.com/f1n9seZxGn
— Bin Xie (解滨） (@bxieus) November 15, 2023
— Nico Maounis (@nicomaounis) November 14, 2023
According to NBC News, every facet of Xi’s visit has been “highly choreographed,” including what he sees from his windows and what camera angles he will be recorded from. “There is no detail too small,” said the White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific.
It will be the first time Xi has visited the city since 1985, when he was a lowly local party chief. The meeting is planned to cut through routine and decorum and address crucial issues head-on. China and the U.S. cannot rely on “autopilot” to achieve an understanding at this point, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last month.
He is set to talk to U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday about trade, stopping the flows of the lethal drug fentanyl, and other things. They are scheduled to meet at the Filoli estate, a historic property roughly 25 miles south of the city. The meeting will last for four hours and include a lunch and walk through the estate’s gardens.
“We’re not trying to decouple from China. What we’re trying to do is change the relationship for the better,” Biden told the press in Washington, D.C. before his flight to San Francisco. Biden said he wanted “to get back on a normal course of corresponding; being able to pick up the phone and talk to one another if there’s a crisis; being able to make sure our [militaries] still have contact with one another.”
Communications between the U.S. and China have been under strain ever since the spy balloon incident last year. But relations were fraying before then as well, due to conflicts on trade, the COVID pandemic, and the situation in the South China Sea. The Summit is intended to smooth over these strains.
Last week, American Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with her Chinese counterpart to discuss the economy. She promised to confront him about unstable supply chains and China’s unfair market practices. Trade relations between America and China are plummeting quickly as America purchases fewer and fewer goods from the second largest economy in the world.
Xi is also scheduled to meet with American business leaders for dinner on Wednesday. Xi is apparently going to attempt to quell anxieties that Western executives have about doing business in China, caused by a pattern of businesspeople getting detained in China during visits. There is also anxiety about the growing trade war between China and the U.S. over microchips and AI technology.